Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Bird watchers at three locations in Davis County saw a variety of birds, from shorebirds regularly seen at Farmington Bay, to a snowy egret, to a yellow-shafted northern flicker, a rarity in Utah.
Seeing the variety of birds wasn’t the only reason about 40 bird watchers turned out Saturday.
Some were there to protest the West Davis Corridor and support the Shared Solution, touted by several environmental groups and some agencies of the federal government as an alternative to the road.
“The turnout was great. People seemed really enthusiastic about showing their support for the Shared Solution,” said Carl Ingwell, founder of Utah Birders and organizer of the event.
It was held to educate the public on on “the disastrous effects this freeway could have on the wetlands and wildlife surrounding the Great Salt Lake,” Ingwell said. It also raised funds for further modeling of the Shared Solution, a no-build alternative to the West Davis Corridor.
The event raised about $600, more than Ingwell expected.
The bird watchers started at Farmington Bay, then traveled to the Kays Creek Parkway, where the Nature Conservancy has restored wetlands and bird habitat. Then it was on to the Jensen Nature Park in Syracuse.
At each site, experts in their field discussed the importance of maintaining bird and wildlife habitat and spoke of the advantages of the Shared Solution, a plan encompassing better use of mass transit and arterial roadways, as well as such options as telecommuting and flex-sceduling in the workplace.
Utah Birders hosts several bird watching events annually. This was one of the few fundraising events the group has hosted, and it drew a mix of people, many not regular bird watchers.
“There were a mix of people, some more interested in the Shared Solution than in birds,” Ingwell said.
While at the Kays Creek Parkway, someone pointed to a barn not far from the land they were standing on that is in the path of the West Davis Corridor if the Utah Department of Transportation’s preferred alternative is built.
“It really surprised people at how close the road would be,” Ingwell said.
The event was sponsored by Utah Birders and Great Salt Lake Audubon, as well as the Shared Solution Coalition, which includes Utahns for Better Transportation, Friends of the Great Salt Lake, Farmington Ranches Homeowners Association, Breathe Utah, National Audubon Society, Utah Audubon Council, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, Utah Waterfowl Association, Wasatch Clean Air Coalition, Utah Rivers Council, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Utah Airboat Association, Bike Utah, Utah Mud Motor Association and CleanAirNow!
Funds are still being raised for the development of the Shared Solution. Those who would like to donate may go to sharedsolution.org.